A charity trains dogs to sniff out the deadly coronavirus in passengers arriving at United Kingdom airports, and are optimistic about the success of their project.
Medical Detection Dogs, an agency that trained dogs to sniff out cancer and malaria, claims that their dogs can detect diseases in less than a second.
CEO Claire Guest believes that their dogs, which include cocker spaniels and a Labradoodle, may be trained to sniff out COVID-19 from asymptomatic passengers arriving at UK airports as soon as lockdown measures are lifted.
“People are coming in and may be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic those few days when you’ve got the virus and don’t know it,” she said in an interview.
“A dog is sniffing each person in turn – it takes 0.
5 of a second, the dog quickly identifies which people need a test and need to go straight into isolation to prevent the further spread around the UK,” she added, “We’re in discussions with the government, we’re very hopeful that they will support this and see there’s a huge value in this.
Their website provides information about the six dogs that are being trained to detect COVID-19, and is working hand in hand with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University.
The six dogs in the project include a Labrador, a Labradoodle, a Golden Retriever Lab Mix and three Cocker Spaniels, and with a funding of $615,000, they could complete the training in six to eight weeks.
“We know that diseases have got these unique odours, we know how rapidly (dogs are) able to identify them, that’s why they’re used for drugs and explosives,” Guest points out, “It’s exactly the same with a disease.”
She said that the charity have been discussing the project with the Government and remains hopeful of the positive outcome.